Features & Interviews

Five minutes with…Tom Blackie, CEO, VNC Automotive

11 August 2022 #Features & Interviews

What does VNC Automotive do?

VNC Automotive is a world-leader in connectivity solutions for the automotive industry. Our technology enables complex functionality in an increasingly connected world, making time spent in our vehicles more entertaining and productive, while adhering strictly to safety and security protocols.

We have worked with customers across the globe, from suppliers such as Sony, Clarion and Denso to vehicle manufacturers such as GM, Honda, Volkswagen and more. Our experience spans a vast number of platforms and systems, and as such has been deployed in 35 million vehicles and 250 million devices worldwide.

Tell us about your product range.

Our Cobalt product line enables a wide range of connected in-vehicle experiences for drivers and passengers, allowing time spent in-vehicle to be more entertaining and productive. Our products are highly customisable, which allows flexibility to meet customer requirements.

On the software front, Cobalt Link and Cobalt Link+ enable drive-safe access to smartphone content from the vehicle dashboard. Cobalt Share empowers passengers by allowing device content to be streamed to any vehicle screen. Finally, Cobalt Remote establishes a secure bi-directional connection between vehicles and the Cloud, enabling remote access to in-vehicle infotainment systems, digital instrument clusters, on-board diagnostics and telemetry data.

Cobalt Cube is our first dedicated hardware product. A compact yet powerful device, Cobalt Cube enables the unification of multiple devices within a vehicle’s existing displays and controls, removing the need for bulky aftermarket hardware and screens.

How does Cobalt Cube help the emergency services?

Cobalt Cube is already being integrated into vehicles by police forces and first responders across the globe.

Systems such as ANPR, light bars, sirens and PCs can all be controlled through the built-in dashboard display, while the bulky hardware remains safely and securely mounted out of sight. Similarly, smartphone-based apps can be linked to the display, making it easier and more intuitive for drivers to view mission-critical information without diverting their concentration from the road.

This elevated level of integration also enables functionality that would otherwise be impossible or prohibitively expensive to achieve. Command control operatives can, for instance, securely access live telemetry from a Cobalt Cube-equipped vehicle via the Cloud, including the ability to view feeds from vehicle cameras at the scene of an incident to create a net of surveillance or to record evidence to help secure future convictions.

Should an officer have to leave a vehicle quickly, such as to pursue a suspect, the control agent can use Cobalt Cube to remotely secure the vehicle or make announcements via the on-board PA system.

Furthermore, information can be sent to first responder vehicles to assist them prior to arriving on site: navigational instructions, CCTV footage of suspects, and details of other units in attendance can all be relayed to the in-car display.

How can your technology benefit commercial vehicle operators?

Today, all but the most utilitarian vans roll off the line complete with a centrally mounted touchscreen. With Cobalt Cube, that display can now be used to access information such as consignment notes or next drop location, all with the minimum of distraction for the driver.

Many commercial fleets are turning to the new wave of telematics systems that aim to improve driver efficiency by incentivising good driving. By providing real-time feedback and rewarding careful and efficient drivers, some fleets are enjoying unprecedented improvements in fuel economy, accident reduction and less downtime.

Cobalt Cube allows these systems to be integrated into the built-in display where it can join the company’s logistics application in potentially eliminating the need for the driver to use a smartphone at all.

Tom Blackie, CEO, VNC Automotive

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